Desperately seeking Toffs

Let’s be frank. You don’t see a lot of Toffs around these days. You don’t run into them in the suburbs. Or around the shopping mall. They don’t go bowling. They’re shy creatures. I thought I saw a small one last week, but he ducked off into the shrubbery before I could be sure.

Need I point out where the difficulty lies then. For a blog dedicated to Toff sightings, in other times the virtual invisibility of Toffs might pose an insurmountable problem. But au contraire. Today we are fortunate to have one of history’s great Toff spotters living among us.

He’s a media billionaire, which seems to help in the Toff-identification registry. Where others have struggle spotting them, he’s on to them in a flash. And he’s not just a whiz at picking Toffs, he’s pretty strong on spotting Dodgy  and Scumbag as well.

It’s almost as if they gather round him. In fact, if you want to be sure of knowing where all the Toffs are, the only sensible course is to turn our gaze on our media billionaire and stick to him like a limpet.

The first sighting was back in March 2012. The BBC’s Panorama program had just broadcast Murdoch’s Pay-TV Pirates, about News Corporation’s Israeli technology arm, NDS, and then a day later the Australian Financial Review published a mind-numbingly long series of stories about NDS as well, in addition to posting something like 5000 emails from a former NDS executive.

Rupert Murdoch knew what that meant, as he told his 335 million or so Twitter followers:

     Enemies many different agendas, but worst old toffs and right wingers who still want last century’s status quo with their monoplies.

               @rupertmurdoch  March 29 2012

I had worked as a consultant to the Panorama program, and I wrote most of the aforesaid mind-numbing Financial Review coverage, with Angus Grigg. I knew one of us had to be the Toff—Stephen Scott the producer of the Panorama program perhaps, or reporter Vivian White. Between you and me, Angus is never going to make a Toff. Complete absence of toffiness, really. I do remember hoping desperately that I wasn’t supposed to be the right-winger still wanting last century’s status quo with my monopoly. I sensed that Toffs have more fun. Much more fun than a Fairfax newspaperman like me.

 Proof you can’t trust anything in Australian Fairfax papers unless you are just another crazy.

@rupertmurdoch March 29 2012

Seems every competitor and enemy piling on with lies and libels. So bad, easy to hit back hard, which preparing.

@rupertmurdoch March 29 2012

There was a little break in proceedings here while News Limited newspapers ran a few articles suggesting that when it came to investigative journalism I was about as handy as a newt on a bicycle. Nothing much really, just 25 articles or so, perhaps 25,000 words—succinct and pithy, every word a gem.

By July though the Toffs were looking menacing again and Rupert Murdoch was obliged to take direct steps. On July 25 he tweeted:

British ministers, others, admit paying cash for jobs. Seems black economy beats future cashless society. Maybe Square will cure.

@rupertmurdoch July 25 2012

It triggered this response by an Australian tweep

 @rupertmurdoch Well,your company in the UK paid cash for hacked phone info. So you’re no better than any other criminal organisation.

@HillbillySkill  July 25 2012

To which Rupert Murdoch replied:

 HillbillySkill So did Harry Evans for thalidomide scandal, Tele for MPs expense rackets. Toffs don’t like free press for masses.

@rupertmurdoch July 25 2012

Those toffs again! Just wait till we get hold of them!  A month later,  a strange back and forth between three people, beginning with a hapless Londoner:

     I just bought: ‘Rupert Murdoch: The Untold Story of the World’s Greatest Media Wizard’ by Neil Chenoweth via @amazonuk

@ryan_losasso   August 14 2012

To which Rupert Murdoch replied eight days later:

     @ryan_losasso Believe that and believe anything.

@rupertmurdoch August 22 2012

@rupertmurdoch @ryan_losasso Now that’s how you review a book about yourself. Well done, Rupes.

@RupertMurdochPR Aug 23 2012

Since then it’s been a bit like the Amity beach scenes in Jaws.    We knew the Toffs were out there, but where would they surface next? There’s been hint of a Toff theme looming once or twice, but it only reached fruition earlier this month when three representatives of the Hacked Off organisation had met with British Prime Minister David Cameron. Naturally Rupert Murdoch did the only reasonable thing he could have done, and wrote one his most famous Tweets:

 Told UK’s Cameron receiving scumbag celebrities pushing for even more privacy laws. Trust the toffs! Transparency under attack. Bad

@RupertMurdoch Oct 14 2012

Simple, concise. The three Hacked Off representatives in question, all victims of phone hacking by News International, were former police officer Jacqui Hames, singer Charlotte Church and actor Hugh Grant. Just in case there were any misconceptions, he kindly clarified the details to a follower:

 @shibleylondon “trust the toffs” means trust them to look after themselves ahead of all else!

@rupertmurdoch Oct 14 2012

So simple, really. The key is to find people who are looking after themselves ahead of everyone else. Apparently you find them regularly within Rupert Murdoch’s circle. And often they seem to be quite critical of him. In fact, this might be one of their distinguishing characteristics. You can see the pernicious effects such individuals have.

Transparency under attack. Bad

Nuggety. To the point. OK. Toffs, then. We’ve got them covered.

1 thought on “Desperately seeking Toffs

  1. I would love to see a lengthy meeting between you and Rupert Murdoch. Observing a cup of tea between you and Chris Mitchell would also be entertaining.

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